china edition
 

 

Geography

China is located in East Asia with on the east side the Pacific Ocean. It is the third largest country in the world (after Russia and Canada) and has an area of about 9.6 million square kilometer which comprises about 6.5% of the entire world land area. China is predicted to be the number one holiday destination in the world by the year 2020.

China has 22 provinces and 5 autonomous regions, which are governed from Beijing, along with some 5,000 islands. Hong Kong and Macau have become Special Administrative Regions (SAR). The 5 autonomous regions are Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang.

Yunnan-Guizhou PlateauSome disputed territories are spreaded around China's southeast coast. Taiwan is the best known. China insists on becoming "one China", but while Taiwan has managed to agree with it, it is still acting like an independent republic.

China also has large seas and many islands. In the East and South China Sea are Japan, the Philippians, Malaysia, and Indonesia and more than 5,000 islands are scattered over China's vast territorial seas, the largest being Taiwan and the second largest, Hainan.

China's landscape has high mountains, coastal areas and featureless plains. The terrain descends from Tibet's "Mount Everest " in the west, down through the Inner Mongolia Plateau and east to the plains of the Yangtze River valley. In the south-west, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau has a rough landscape with gorge rapids, waterfalls, underground caves and limestone mountain tops, making it one of the country's most spectacular regions. Inland features include the Taklamakan Desert and the Turpan Depression (China's hottest region, and known as the Oasis of Fire).

China is covered for two-third by mountains, hills and plateaus. Out of the world's twelve high peaks of more than 8,000 meter, seven are located in China. The highest peak in the world, Mount Qomolangma (8,828 meter) stands on the border between China and Nepal.

The west of China is covered with mountains, deserts and plateaus, which are not very good conditions for agriculture. Because of this the civilization that grew up in the east were isolated from other major civilizations in the west. Although the mountains and deserts of the west limited contact between early imperial dynasties and other centers of civilization in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, there was one very important method of exchanging goods and ideas; the Silk Road.

China also has a great number of rivers. The inland river system accounts for 36% of the total land area in China. The major ones are the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Heilongjiang River, Pearl River, and Huaihe River.

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world. It has a total length of 6,300 kilometer. Excellent river ports, such as Shanghai, Zhenjiang, Nanjing, Wuhan, Yichang and Chongqing are located near or along the Yangtze River, making it one of the world's busiest inland waterways. It is in the middle course of the Yangtze River that the Three Gorges Dam project is being constructed and this is also the area where the popular Yangtze River Cruise sails.

China's second longest river, the Yellow River, rises in Qinghai province and flows some 5,464 kilometer to the Yellow Sea. On its banks lie Lanzhou, Baotou, Zhengzhou, Jinan and other important cities. The yellow river Valley is considered the cradle of Chinese civilization.

China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, as well as the Pearl River delta system marked by the West River in south eastern China, have provided the framework for agricultural development and population growth throughout China's history. Another river, the Heilong Jiang marks the border between China and Russia. Because some of China's largest rivers have their source regions on the high Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and drop great distances over their middle and lower courses, China is rich in hydroelectric resources.

China's environment stretches out from towering mountains to featureless plains. The terrain descends across the planet from Tibet's "roof of the world" in the west, down through the Inner Mongolia Plateau and east to the plains of the Yangtze River valley. In the south-west, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau has a rough terrain with numerous gorge rapids, waterfalls, underground caves and limestone mountain tops, making it one of the country's most spectacular regions. Inland features include the Taklamakan Desert and the Turpan Depression (China's hottest region, and known as the Oasis of Fire).

China's total land area is covered for two-third by mountains, hills and plateaus. Out of the world's twelve high peaks of more than 8,000 meter, seven are located in China. The highest peak in the
world, Mount Qomolangma (8,828m) stands on the border between China and Nepal.

The west of China is covered with mountains, deserts and plateaus, which are not very good conditions for agriculture. Because of this the civilization that grew up in the east were isolated from other major civilizations in the west. Although the mountains and deserts of the west limited contact between early imperial dynasties and other centers of civilization in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, there was one very important method of exchanging goods and ideas; the Silk Road.

China also has a great number of rivers. The inland river system accounts for 36% of the total land area in China. The major ones are the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Heilongjiang River, Pearl River, and Huaihe River.

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world. It has a total length of 6,300 kilometer. Excellent river ports, such as Shanghai, Zhenjiang, Nanjing, Wuhan, Yichang and Chongqing are located near or along the Yangtze River, making it one of the world's busiest inland waterways. It is in the middle course of the Yangtze River that the Three Gorges Dam project is being constructed and this is also the area where the popular Yangtze River Cruise sails.

China's second longest river, the Yellow River, rises in Qinghai province and flows some 5,464 kilometer to the Yellow Sea. On its banks lie Lanzhou, Baotou, Zhengzhou, Jinan and other important cities. The yellow river Valley is considered the cradle of Chinese civilization.

China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, as well as the Pearl River delta system marked by the West River in south eastern China, have provided the framework for agricultural development and population growth throughout China's history. Another river, the Heilong Jiang marks the border between China and Russia. Because some of China's largest rivers have their source regions on the high Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and drop great distances over their middle and lower courses, China is rich in hydroelectric resources.

China is also a country with numerous lakes, approximately 2,800 natural lakes with total area more than 80,000 square kilometer.

Pandas in China

Given China's size, it's only to be expected that its animal life is diverse. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Due to the the destruction of habitat caused by agriculture, urbanization and industrial pollution, many animals have become rare, endangered or even extinct. Magnificent animals endemic to China, but found in increasingly low numbers include pandas, snow leopards, elephants, argali sheep, wild yaks, reindeer, moose, musk deer, bears, sables and tigers. Bird-watchers can spot cranes, ducks, bustards, egrets, swans and herons in the country's lakes and nature reserves (of which there are more than 300).

China's plant life has done a bit better under the critical situation of a billion people, but deforestation, grazing and intensive cultivation have all taken their toll. The last great regions of forest are in the sub arctic north-eastern region near the Russian border, while the tropical south is home to the country's most diverse plant life, including rainforest. China's many useful plants include bamboo and ginseng.